12 December 2007

what i eat in africa

What I eat in Africa is something I'll be discovering very soon. In case you haven't heard, Mike's job is transferring us to Bujumbura, Burundi, in East Africa next year.

When going through the medical clearance process, no one questioned my celiac disease. And I was ready to defend it. I knew that wheat is not a major staple in most of the countries we could possibly be sent to. Since we're allowed to bring a couple thousand pounds' worth of our own pantry items from home, I knew I'd just bring Bob's Red Mill instead of Duncan Hines. I was keeping my fingers crossed for a place with lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

And I think I hit the jackpot. From eDiplomats.com:
Fresh tropical fruits, such as bananas, a papayas, mangoes, pineapples, Japanese plums, citrus, avocados, and strawberries are available and inexpensive. Vegetables, including cucumbers, green beans, dried beans and lentils, green peas, cabbage, tomatoes, artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, beets, lettuce, potatoes, turnips, onions, green onions, leeks, and green peppers are also inexpensively available. Fresh spices are also found, including thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, cilantro, fennel and parsley.... There are many local butcheries, which supply good quality beef, pork, lamb, goat, and poultry. Turkeys are raised in a nearby Italian Mission. A variety of sausages and coldcuts are made locally.... Burundi coffee and tea are excellent and inexpensive.

This is all excellent news! We've also heard that rice, peanuts, and Indian and other Asian spices are available and inexpensive. Our eating habits won't have to adjust that much, except for trying all the new dishes. And the lack of dairy--there's apparently very little in the way of good fresh milk. That will probably be the biggest culinary problem for us. (The parts I left out with the ... pertain to how what little processed food is available is expensive because it's all imported from Europe.)

I don't consider myself an adventurous eater, I just like fresh food instead of processed. Many of our peers look at this information and cringe about how they'll have to bring all their cans of Progresso soup from home. I say, "Hopefully it won't be that much different than going to farmers' market here."

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